This presentation was made during the African Soil Prtnership consulation workshop which took a place in Ghana, 20-22 May 2015. This presentation was made by Prof. Chude, Victor O & Prof. ODUNZE Azubuike Chidowe, and it presents the priorities for SSM in Nigeria.
PRIORITIES FOR SUSTAINABLE SOIL MANAGEMENT IN
Professor CHUDE, Victor O.
Specialist: Soil Fertility
Head, Agriculture Productivity Enhancement, National Programme for Food Security
Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Nigeria
Professor ODUNZE Azubuike Chidowe
Specialist: Soil & Water Conservation/Land use Management
Department of Soil Science/ IAR, Faculty of Agriculture, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria
Presentation for the African Regional Soil Partnership Workshop, 20-22nd May. Ghana
• Planning and execution of sound natural resource management at the watershed and landscape levels are
increasingly important for retaining ecological integrity and ensuring that food and fibre systems are resilient enough
to absorb shocks and stresses and avoid land and water resources degradation (FRP, 2005; IBRD/World Bank, 2006).
• Prioritizing and addressing desertification, land degradation and climate change challenges will be critical for
achieving food security and nutrition, their adaptation to climate change, protection of biodiversity and development
of resilience of soil to natural disasters to benefit from new scientific knowledge detailing the extent and importance
of ecosystem services and their roles in sustaining human and agro-ecosystems.
• Therefore, investments on emerging scientific knowledge will be necessary in
1. The planning, prioritizing and deployment of appropriate soil management tools for intensive and sustainable soil
2. Improve access to existing knowledge and information on sustainable land management (SLM) and the
consequences of inappropriate management.
3. Rehabilitate land that had been degraded for both productive and ecosystem functions (IBRD/World Bank, 2006).
• In Nigeria and for agricultural purposes, sustainable soil management which
combines technologies, policies and activities aimed at integrating
socioeconomic principles with environmental concerns will simultaneously:
• maintain and enhance production
• reduce the level of production risk, and enhance soil capacity to buffer against
• protect the potential of natural resources and prevent degradation of soil and
• be economically viable
• be socially acceptable, and assure access to benefits from improved land
• About the Country Nigeria.
a. Geographical location and potentials for Agricultural productivity
b. Nature and potentials of the soils for sustainable agricultural production
c. Dominant Land use
• State of Soil Resources in Nigeria
a. Major soil types/orders in Nigeria
b. Land degradation
c. Responses to land degradation
• Needs and Priorities for sustainable soil management
• Institutional settings for sustainable soil management
The Country Nigeria:
Geographical location and potentials for agricultural productivity:
• The Federal Republic of Nigeria lies in West Africa between latitudes
40 and 140 North and between longitudes 20 2’ and 140 30’East. To the
north of the country is bounded by Republic of Niger and Chad, to the
West by Benin Republic, to the East by Cameroun Republic and to the
South by the Atlantic Ocean (FAO, 2009; Aegheore, 2009).
• Nigeria is composed of thirty six (36) States and a Federal Capital
Territory (Fig. 1) as administrative arms for running the country.
Fig. 1: Map of Nigeria showing the composite States and Federal Capital
The Country Nigeria
• Nigeria (Fig 1) spreads over some 92 million hectares of land stretching from its
Atlantic coast near the equator to 140 north (Ojanuga, 2006; Aegheore, 2009;
• The country is rated highly potential to produce agricultural commodities due to a
combination of favourable climatic conditions, undulating topography, and
• Annual rainfall decreases Northwards from 4000 mm close to the equator to 500
mm in the Northeast (Chude et al., 2011).
• Rainfall is uni-modal close to the equator and in low rainfall areas above 90, and
bi-modal in areas receiving 1250 to 1500mm annual rainfall amounts between
latitudes 4 and 90 North (FAO, 1984; Chude et al., 2011).
• Annual rainfall could be erratic with dry spells occurring during cropping seasons
in some years (Odunze, 2011) in the north, pronounced dry season ranges from 3
to 8 months, occurring from the high rainfall areas in the South to the driest areas
in the north.
The Country Nigeria Cont.
Chude et al. (2011) group agro-ecological zones in Nigeria into the following:
A Semi-Arid Geidam-Asagar-Mongonu Plain, B Dry Sub-Humid Gumel-Nguru-Maiduguri Plain
C Dry Sub-Humid K/Namoda-Kano-Bauchi High Plain, D Dry Sub-Humid Illela-Sokoto-Yelwa Plain
E Sub-Humid Minna-Kaduna-Kafanchan High Plain, F Sub-Humid Central Niger-Benue Trough
G Dry Sub-Humid Azare-Gombe-Yola Plain, H Dry Sub-Humid Chibok-Biu-Mubi-Song High Plain
I Sub-Humid Jalingo-Donga-Ganye High Plain, J Very Humid Beli-Takum-Obudu-Gembu High Plain
K Peri- Humid Oban High Plain, L Sub-Humid Babana-New Bussa-Kaiama Plain
M Humid Kishi-Ilorin-Kabba Plain, N Very Humid Oyo-Ibadan-Ondo-Oka Plain
O Humid Ankpa-Otukpo-Shanger Tiev Lowland and Scarpland,
P Very Humid Onitsha-Enugu-Abakaliki, Calabar Lowland and Scarpland
Q Very Humid Lagos-Benin-Asaba Lowland, R Very Humid/Perhumid Niger Delta
S Humid Jos Plateau
and showed in Table 1 ratings of the zones to rainfed agricultural production potential.
Table 1: Ratings of Agro-ecological zone of Nigeria based on Rainfed
Ranking AEZs Limiting Factors
High E, F, G, I, L, M, O, S Nil
Medium C, H, J, N, Q High or low population density, land suitability
Low A, B, D, K, P, R
Unfavourable agro-climate, land suitability, high
Nature and potentials of the soils for sustainable agricultural production
• Geology of Nigeria is dominated by igneous structures that form most of the hills and
• Rocks of the basement complex, mainly of igneous origin are encountered in over 60% of
the surface area (FAO, 2009).
• Cultivation of some soils could be limited by low water holding capacity; while others,
could have poor permeability and weak root penetration caused by impervious layers like
plinthitic, hard pans, rock-out-crops and excessive clay content in depths.
• Most soils are highly leached resulting in medium to high acidity, moderate to low cation
exchange capacity and base saturation, and low to very low organic matter content.
• Soil nutrient replenishment and soil quality restoration from organic and mineral sources is
a prerequisite for continuous cultivation of most soils in Nigeria; particularly under
intensive production systems
• Many of the soils are susceptible to erosion due to their locations on the landscape; resulting
into gullying in some areas, relatively low organic matter content and fragile structure.
• Soil degradation and attendant depressed yields due to nutrient mining, impoverished soil
quality/health, inappropriate soil and moisture conservation practices is wide spread in the
Dominant Land use: Rainfed Agriculture
• Combined effects of rainfall, temperature, humidity and particularly; the variations of
these within agro-ecological zones, exerts a major influence on the types of indigenous
and exotic plants that grow or can be introduced into the zone.
• About 90 percent of total agricultural output is produced by smallholder farmers who
cultivate between 0.8 to 1.2 hectares in forest zones and 2 to 4 hectares in the savanna
zones (Chude et al., 2011).
• Root and tuber cropping land use systems dominate in forest and forest-savanna
transitional zones in the South; consisting mainly of cassava, yams, cocoyam, and sweet
• Cereal grain cropping land use systems; such as guinea corn, millet, maize, rice and
wheat are dominant in the Northern savanna zones.
• Other important crops in Nigeria; such as groundnut, melon, cowpea, soybean, Beniseed,
cotton, okra, tomatoes, onion and peppers are widely grown as intercrops, relayed, strip
crop or sole in the different vegetation zones.
• Cassava is also grown widely due to its tolerance of a wide range of soils. Tree crops
such as palm tree, cocoa and rubber plantations are also common land use types in the
south (FAO, 2009).
• In Nigeria Ruminant livestock are numerous and provide substantial quantities of
• Livestock rearing is a dominant land use type in the savannah zones of Nigeria;
with cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, donkey and camels being prominent.
• Free range, Nomadic or pastoral systems of grazing practice (Plates 1) by herders
are common in rural and less populated savanna zones, and account for the high rate
of soil degradation by livestock, conflicts between crop farmers and cattle herders
for land and herbage in urban and peri-urban communities (FAO, 2009).
Plates 1: Livestock movement in the Nigerian Savanna Zones
• The Nigerian Government has promoted irrigated agriculture to argument rainfed
farming across all the agro-ecological zones of the country and boost sustainable
food crop production and ensure food security.
• River banks, stream watersheds, and flood plains are utilized for irrigated crop
• Currently upland and lowland rice production systems are encouraged in best-fit
ecologies with a view to attain 2.5-3tha-1 and 5-6tha-1 paddy rice yield respectively
for upland and lowland production systems.
• Vegetables like tomatoes, garden eggs, cabbage, onion, carrot and pepper are
grown under rainfed, residual moisture and irrigated conditions.
State of Soil Resources in Nigeria: Major soil types/orders in Nigeria
• Major soils of Nigeria according to FAO Soil Taxonomy legends are: fluvisols,
regosols, gleysols, acrisols, ferrasols, alisols, lixisols, cambisols, luvisols, nitosols,
arenosols and vertisols that vary in their productivity rating as shown in Table 2
• Soils in Nigeria are formed from residues of deeply weathered, basement complex
rocks, alluvial materials derived from humid, mixed alluvium and Aeolian
deposits of dry tropical conditions.
• Most of the soils (Table 2) are cultivable during rainy seasons because of their
adequate depths and permeability.
• However fluvisols, gleysols, regosols, luvisols lixisols, cambisols nitosols
dominate soils of Nigeria with a total land area of 474Km2 or 51.97% and
therefore present most cultivable soils in Nigeria as belonging to the medium to
good productivity class
Table 2: Productivity Potentials of Nigerian Soils:
FAO Productivity Class Area
Km2 % total area
High (1) - -
Good (2) Fluvisol, Gleysols, regosols 50.4 5.52
Medium (3) Lixisols, Cambisols, Luvisols, Nitosols 423.6 46.45
Low (4) Acrisols, Ferrasols, Alisos, Vertisols 289.2 31.72
Low (5) Arenosols, Nitosols 148.8 16.32
Threats to Soil Quality
• The various threats to soil quality and ecosystem services in Nigeria
(1) Erosion (by water and wind),
(2) Soil organic carbon change,
(3) Soil contamination,
(4) Soil acidification,
Threats to Soil Quality Contd.
(6) Loss of soil biodiversity,
( 7) Water-logging,
(8) Nutrient Mining,
(9) Soil Compaction and
(10) Soil Sealing
Land Degradation: Main Land Degradation types
• Loss of Vegetation Cover and Top soil
• Soil erosion and nutrient losses
• Salt Problem in soils
Main Causes of Soil/Land Degradation
• Aridity, over-grazing, indiscriminate tree/vegetation cutting for fuel,
fencing/construction and livestock feeding
• Increase/expansion of settlements (urban and rural), continuous cropping,
inappropriate crop and soil management practices by soil users
• Encroachment of cropping into marginal lands and designated rangelands
• Poor urban settlements’ planning and roads’ construction.
• Field infestation with noxious weeds such as Striga spp.
• Land preparation equipment use, method
Soil Fertility Maps of Nigeria
TOTAL N %
Map of Nigeria Showing different Total N fertility classes for the topsoil.
Prepared by: Chude V O, Jayeoba O J
and Berding F
Responses to Land Degradation in Nigeria
Aridity, over-grazing, indiscriminate tree/vegetation cutting for fuel, fencing/construction and
Plate 2: Over-grazed land in arid Nigeria with sparsely distributed tree and shrubs
Increase/expansion of settlements (urban and rural), continuous cropping,
inappropriate crop and soil management practices by soil users
Plates 3: Poor urban settlements’ planning, roads’ construction and farming practice
failures causing gullying
Positive Response to Land Degradation
Good ground cover for enhanced soil health, sustainable productivity and use of animal
traction for reduced tillage on tropical fragile soils
Controlling Striga menace and restore soil health using appropriate
NEED AND PRIORITIES FOR SUSTAINABLE SOIL/LAND
• Land resource inventories; including soils in Nigeria, are limited only to some parts of agricultural
potential areas, though a reconnaissance level soil map of Nigeria has been produced. There is the urgent
need to prioritize and produce detailed soil map of Nigeria with a focus on agriculturally potential
• Strengthening the capacities of soil managers/stakeholder institutions (Institutional, technical,
manpower, financial) to monitor and report on status of Nigerian soil resources.
• Increase the adoption of sustainable soil management practices and technologies; including integrated
approaches of soil health/quality management, extension services and partnership/linkages for
technology update and transfer.
• Linking modern technology with indigenous farming traditions.
• Establishment of a ‘National Soil Research Institute that should have the mandated to oversee the
nations’ nonrenewable natural resource use/management. The absence of such an institution in the
nations’ history accounts for the level of soil/land degradation and continued misuse, witnessed
• Continued assessment, mapping and monitoring of land degradation (Land degradation monitoring
system) across the nation.
• Soil testing services to assess the quality of soils and recommend site and crop specific fertilizers .
• Addressing the inadequacy of infrastructure and marketing organization.
Institutional Setup for Soil/Land Management in Nigeria
Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN)
• Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
• Federal Ministries of Environment
• Federal Ministries of Water Resources
• National Meteorological Agency (NIMET)
The thirty six (36) States and Federal Capital Territory.
- States’ Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development
-States’ Ministries of Environment
-States’ Ministries of Water Resources
Institutional Setup for Soil/Land Management in Nigeria cont.
Local Government Areas (LGAs) of States and Federal Capital Territory
• LGAs Ministries of Agriculture
• LGAs Ministries of Environment
• LGAs Ministries of Water Resources
• Federal, States and Private Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Agriculture and
Colleges of Education.
• Universities of Agriculture, Faculties/Schools or Departments of Agriculture
• Faculties of Water resources, Environment etc.
FAO and Other Related International Organizations involved in Soil Research,
Trainings and Projects
• Federal Ministry Levels
• State Levels
• University/Polytechnic/Colleges levels
• Land/Soil degradation is a common sight in Nigeria and continues unabated due to
the absence of a ‘National Soil Research Institute’ charged with the responsibility
to oversee use, sustainable management of the nations’ nonrenewable natural
resource (soil) and monitoring the incidence; if any, of land degradation across the
• Most productive agricultural lands are being rapidly impoverished due to low
fertility restoration measures, nutrient mining by crops, soil erosion and improper
soil management practices.
• Integrated soil health/quality management approach should be prioritized and
adopted in agricultural soil use of the nation to ensure sustainable agricultural
productivity, food security and environmental conservation.
• Detailed soil map of Nigeria with a focus on potential agricultural productive
areas should be conducted to allow for sustainable intensification of agricultural
production and the attainment of national food security
DON’T FORGET THE SOIL: SUSTAIN LAND STEWARDSHIP FOR
ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLINESS AND SOIL PRODUCTIVITY